A FIRE spread to a garage in the early hours after a wheelie bin was left alight outside a family home.

Fire crews were called to Shurmer Street in Bolton at 2.45am. A resident heard a loud bang, believed to be a small explosion, and discovered a fire in a wheelie bin in the street.

The bin was ablaze right in front of a neighbour’s house and spreading fast to the garage.

The resident alerted the occupier to the growing fire and the pair rushed outside to fight it off with a garden hose while fire fighters were called to the scene.

The bin had been left out after collection day, but had been moved down the street outside another property’s garage and set alight.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “The neighbour heard a loud bang and went out to investigate.

“They saw a wheelie bin, which apparently was not there earlier that evening, up against the garage.

“[The bin] was not the resident’s wheelie bin, so it had been wheeled there purposely and it was set alight.”

The spokesman added: “The neighbour alerted the occupier of the house and they were able to use a hose pipe while we were on our way.

“It spread from the wheelie bin to the garage and there was some household items in the garage.”

The two fire engines from Bolton Central fire station were at the scene for just under an hour.

The spokesman for GMFRS warned: “Only bring wheelie bins out when it’s collection day. Otherwise leave them in a closed off space.”

Police are investigating the incident.